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Roman Chair Side Bends Guide

    side bends on back extension machine

    Who else wants to build attractive V-cut shaped lower abs? Strong obliques on either side of your abdomen.

    The Roman chair side bends is an excellent bodyweight exercise to get those goals. You can target your external oblique muscles ideally. Although it’s a rather advanced movement, so I don’t recommend it for beginners.

    Let’s learn how to do it, its benefits, and other tips.

    Roman Chair Oblique Side Bend Tutorial

    You can perform this exercise on 90-degree Roman chairs. But, from my experience, it is more comfortable to be done on a 45-degree hyperextension bench.

    Here are the instructions.

    1. The starting position: Lie on the bench on your side. The padding is at your hip. Fix your feet withing the leg rollers. If there is enough space, you can put your feet on top of each other. If not, put them side by side.
    2. Keep your body straight and place your hands behind your neck or on your chest.
    3. Slowly, with a controlled technique, lower your upper body as far as you can. You can’t bend too much because it’s impossible with a straighten torso. Just go down until you’re comfortable with it. If you feel the stretching in your oblique muscles and hips, you do it right.
    4. Now pull yourself up with the power of your oblique to the starting position. At the top, stop and hold for a moment and squeeze your side to benefit from muscle contraction.
    5. Repeat.

    Depending on your level of fitness, do 10-20 reps for each side.

    Here is the tutorial video.


    You can try to do it on a stability ball by putting your feet against the wall.

    Workout advice

    If you are an advanced athlete, you can do side bends with weight. But don’t overdo it! Firstly, because the fixing of the legs isn’t the most secure. Plus, a heavy load put too much stress on your spine, hips, and back. And, of course, keep the correct form.

    This Roman chair exercise can be an excellent addition for a complete ab workout. For example, you do 3-4 circles from the following.

    • 10-15 leg raises (lower abs)
    • 10-12 oblique bends
    • 15-20 crunches (upper abs)
    • 10-12 hyperextension (lower back)

    That’s it. You have a complete core workout.

    What if you are a beginner and you feel the Roman chair side bends hard to perform? Do exercises on the floor instead, such as oblique crunch or standing side crunches with a light dumbbell. Or, if the hyperextension bench is adjustable, you can lower it so that the angle won’t be so steep.


    James Wright

    James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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